D&D: The Raven Queen – Mistress Of Shadows And Death
The Raven Queen is one of the most enigmatic figures in D&D. She rules the Shadowfell despite not being a god or goddess herself. Probably. It’s complicated.
Cosmic conflicts are hidden away in the lore of Dungeons & Dragons. Some are obvious–like the eternal Blood War between devils and demons, which wends its way across the River Styx and can be seen in Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus. But look into the mysteries of the cosmos and you’ll find a dozen more subtler schemes, like the scattering of the Mind Flayers and the dissolution of their once great empire–to the conflict in the Shadowfell, currently ruled by the Raven Queen. The Raven Queen is a mysterious figure who isn’t necessarily a god or goddess, but isn’t not one either. Whatever she is, the Raven Queen rules the Shadowfell and she has a powerful influence over the cosmos.
One of the reasons she has such influence over everything is because of her position as rule of the Shadowfell. Most souls in the cosmos make their way through the Shadowfell eventually–the river of souls passes through this grey, shadowed plane, and through it the souls of the departed pass through the gate of death and then beyond into the outer planes.
And as we all know, souls represent power in the outer planes. They are the currency of the Blood War, and you can see how they’re used in Avernus to power war machine and bargain with infernal powers…and the Raven Queen is a mysterious force that represents neither law nor chaos–nor good or evil, that many powers believe is somehow meddling with the river of souls. And they’re right: on occasion, when she spots a soul that interests here, whether because of the potential of the soul, or some other inscrutable reason, she will send her ravens out to flock around the soul and pull it to her.
Little wonder then, that she has so many Warlocks. Or at least, has had so many warlocks in the past–it’s entirely possible her own will is somehow behind the sentient magic weapons that offer up their power as a part of the Hexblade Patron for Warlocks. But we all know that’s only rumor. She pulls off the “mysterious, maybe slightly capricious powerful figure, who likely has a dozen plans”… very well. She reminds me a lot of the Lady of Pain in that way–I’d love to see the two of them have a team up adventure, though I doubt the Planes would survive it.
At any rate, between her influence over the flow of souls and the Shadar-Kai (who are elves now), the Raven Queen is at the center of a surprising number of planar events. With a planar tome on the horizon (potentially) it’s important to know who the key players are, and the Raven Queen is exactly that.
In the meantime, all you really need to know is that she loves it if you point out whether or not something is So Raven.